News Nuggets from Around Disney World

Hey! Look! The site still works! This latest batch of (breakfast?) News Nuggets is a long time coming. I had grand desigins of posting it when I was down in Florida IN DECEMBER, but that slipped. Then, life got in the way, and an iOS beta broke my custom Workflows, and…well..its (still) February.

To try make this post (of over 8 weeks worth of Disney news) a little more timely, I’ve culled some of the original stories I was going to publish, as well modified some of commentary to reflect my experiences and other news I’ve heard about these items.

Of course, the biggest news item that hasn’t already been written about on the site is:

With all that out of the way, on to the News Nuggets!!

Okay. That was a lot of nuggets. I need a break.Let’s watch one of the “behind the scenes” looks at Pandora:

Okay, back to the News Nuggets:

Okay, time for another break. This time, let’s look at this tribute to the late, great Carrie Fisher from The Studios:

Ms. Fisher will be missed, and (shockingly?) I was unable to come up with a way to segway back into the nuggets:

One more break before we finish? What do you say? This time, let’s check out the latest Pandora ad:

That place might be pretty cool in a few months. Now, though, let’s finish out our News Nuggets!

Whew! We’re finally done. Let’s celebrate!

Major Disney World Openings Coming Up in Early 2017

In addition to previously announcing opening dates of Pandora (I guess I’ll start call it that instead of Avatarland?) and Star Wars Land, Disney announced a few other upcoming openings / changes in advance of yesterday’s ticket price increase::

Rivers of Light

Disney has announced that Rivers of Light will officially open on February 17, 2017. If you’re down at Disney World this week, though, it’s already having showings as part of a soft open.

Most reviews of the show are generally positive, with some notes that there’s no “wow moment in the finale”. Here are the reviews from from WDW Magic, Mouse Steps and WDW News Today (which has some pictures and video).

There is also a highlight video from WDW Magic and some more photos from AllEars.net

Dining packages are also available for the show, and Josh at easyWDW has already expained how they might not be too bad of a value.

Flower and Garden Festival

My favorite of the festivals at Disney Festival Adventure (i.e., Epcot)–Flower & Garden– starts on March 1 this year and the Disney Parks Blog has posted all the menus for the “outdoor kitchens”. My general fear when reading these menus is that the items are going to be fairly “expensive” what you’re getting from Epcot booth food. I’ll wait and see what’s actually being offered, however, before making an final judgments.

‘Happily Ever After’ to replace ‘Wishes’ at the Magic Kingdom starting May 12

Ever since the Main Street Electrical Parade ventured out (along the Oregon Trail, I presume?) back to California, people have been wondering when Disney would announce the Magic Kingdom’s new nighttime parade. Interestingly (surprisingly?), Disney has announced a replacement for Wishes instead. Disney describes the new show, entilted Happily Ever After, as follows:

The show will feature the latest fireworks and pyrotechnics and original animation, plus a heart-tugging original score. And thanks to the inclusion of state-of-the-art projection mapping technology, more Disney characters than ever before will be featured in the show, including moments from “Moana,” “Brave,” “Big Hero 6,” “Zootopia,” “The Princess & The Frog,” “Aladdin” and many others.

Disney has announced May 12 as the official opening date for the new show, but if you really want to make sure that you see Wishes one more time before is relegated to the Youtube archives, you might want not want to wait until the last day / week before Happily Ever After debuts (just in case Disney gets too aggressive with “soft opens” of the new show.)

Wishes
Wishes

Celebrating the Patriots Super Bowl Win at Disney World

I admit, I’m not above posting on this site when one of my favorite sports teams win the title, but this time there is a real Disney World angle. Last week, Super Bowl “hero” (maybe he should have been the MVP?) James White spent a day at Disney World in celebration of the Patriots Super Bowl win.

The Disney Parks Blog post linked above contains some photos, and here is a highlights video:

Congratulations to James and the whole Patriots team.

Disney World Price Increase Coming Tomorrow – February 12 – NEW PRICES

UPDATE: New Prices Below

Pretty much the entire world is reporting that tomorrow will be a Disney World price increase (See, e.g., WDW News Today and The DIS.) The rumors include increases in the range of 2-5 dollars (depending on the “season” and the park) for single day tickets–there will probably be a similar increase on the “per day” rate for multi-day ones–, with annual passes getting a rumored increase of $10 to $30 depending on the level. If you were going to buy tickets directly from Disney in the next week or so, it might be worth buying your tickets today. If you frequently use a third party reseller, they will probably have stock at the old prices for another week or two.

Here are the new prices for new multiday tickets (Non-Park Hopper / Park Hopper):

  • 2 Day (199 / 259) from (202 (??) / 257)
  • 3 Day (289 / 349) from (290 (??) / 349)
  • 4 Day (350 / 425) from (325 / 394)
  • 5 Day (370 / 445) from (340 / 409)
  • 6 Day (390 / 465) from (355 / 424)
  • 7 Day (410 / 485) from (370 / 439)
  • 8 Day (420 / 495) from (380 / 449)
  • 9 Day (430 / 505) from (390 / 459)
  • 10 Day (440 / 515) from (400 / 469)

and here’s the update to out of state / non-discounted annual passes:

  • Platinum Pass: $779 up from $749
  • Platinum Plus Pass: $869 from $829

Target Openings for Pandora (Avatarland) and Star Wars Land Announced

 

UPDATE: For more information Pandora, check out the newly launched VisitPandora.com.

During Disney’s earning call today, CEO Bob Iger announced that Avatarland (i.e., Pandora – The World of Avatar) will open on May 27 of this year. This is (suprisingly?) in line with some of the rumors associated with the opening date, and, obviously, is just in time for the busy summer season. Disney’s press release on the opening again mentioned the major attractions coming to Pandora:

First, the family friendly Na’vi River Journey will send guests through a bioluminescent rainforest. Their journey will end in an unforgettable encounter with a Na’vi Shaman, a figure who has a deep connection to the life force of Pandora. And second, Avatar Flight of Passage will offer guests the jaw-dropping experience of exploring the world of Pandora atop a Banshee.

Actually surprising, however, was Iger’s announcement that Star Wars Land would open in 2019. Most people (either joking or otherwise) seemed to think that Star Wars Land would open in 2020, so this the actual 2019 opening is ahead of that “schedule.” More surprising, however, is that Iger made an announcement at all. Clearly, Disney is confident (or willing to spend extra to ensure–if necessary) that Star Wars Land will be completed in 2019. I’m sure there are people out there waiting to come down hard on Disney if it doesn’t make this date.

*Not* Coming to Star Wars Land :-(
Not Coming to Star Wars Land 🙁

Changes coming to some Boardwalk-Crescent Lake Restaurants

There are a couple of changes coming to one of Elyssa’s and my favorite areas at Disney World: Boardwalk / Crescent Lake.

First, Captain’s Grille is closing for an extensive refurbishment from mid-May to Fall 2017. As people who enjoy the Yacht Club and the Beach Club, we have mixed feelings about the existing Captain’s Grille offering. On one hand–as friend of the site Kip Springfield has repeatedly pointed out–the non-buffet items available during breakfast can be both interesting and pretty good. On the other hand, the dinners we’ve had range from “unmemorable” to disappointing. (In fact, we now just go directly to Crew’s Cup for dinner if we’re in the area.) For a restaurant that shares a kitchen with Yachtsmans Steakhouse, this has always been a little confusing. Hopefully the refurbishment will also given them time for an overall quality increase.

The other major announcement is a new Character Breakfast coming to Trattoria al Forno in “late Spring”. Elyssa and I have made our high opinion of Trattoria’s breakfast well known, so any potential changes to the existing setup worry me. Don’t get me wrong, a character breakfast with Flynn and Rapunzel sounds cool, but I like getting my “late” breakfast at Trattoria and then strolling into the backside of Epcot without having to pay $30 a person for the meal. I’m cautiously optimistic that this offering is something that only happens on “select days” instead of the whole week. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Trattoria Mickey Waffle Breakfast
Trattoria Mickey Waffle Breakfast